Sheffield United will release the player who won two Premier League promotions with the Blades

The writing has been on the wall for a while in terms of relegating Sheffield United back to the Championship. And the same can be said for the retained list as some players have barely featured since Chris Wilder returned to the Blades.

One of those players is 33-year-old Oliver Norwood, according to a report from The Star. The former Northern Ireland international is set to leave Bramall Lane this summer after a memorable six years at the club in which he made 252 appearances and won two automatic promotions to the Premier League.

Chris Wilder first brought the midfielder to S2 in 2018. Initially on loan from Brighton, Norwood’s excellent performances in the first half of the 18/19 campaign saw the Blades make a permanent move in the transfer window subsequent winter transfer.

Oliver Norwood: An integral part of the Blades’ recent success

From there, his performances grew even more, occupying a playmaking role deep in United’s midfield. Norwood’s range of passing was excellent and helped the Blades beat the press and unlock opposition defenses from various angles.

He finished his first campaign with the club scoring three goals and providing nine assists in United’s promotion-winning season. And he made sure to maintain his excellent form and the team’s momentum in Wilder’s first Premier League season.

Much has been said in the past about that system that Wilder and Alan Knill ran during their successful 2016-2020 period – otherwise known as the overlapping centre-back system. As good as that system was, for me that system would never have been successful in the Premier League if it hadn’t been for Norwood, Chris Basham and of course Jack O’Connell.

While the wide centre-backs applied width and an overload on both flanks, Norwood’s passing range and vision allowed the Blades to shift the ball into a position to exploit the overload in that outstanding 19/20 Premier League season .

Unfortunately for the player and Sheffield United, these excellent performances could not be sustained and after finishing in ninth place, the Blades would suffer relegation from the Premier League the following season.

Chris Wilder on making tough decisions at Sheffield United this summer

There will be more difficult decisions for Chris Wilder and the board to make this summer and the United boss has made it clear to everyone that he has no problem making “ruthless” decisions if he feels it is the right one.

Wilder said, via The Star: “I don’t like it because they are really difficult decisions and when I was a young manager I had to tell 18-year-old players that they didn’t have a career in professional football. So I’m not heartless…but I’m ruthless in my approach. And it has to be right. There is no feeling involved in it.

“There is no, ‘He did this and that for us in the past.’ These are really well thought out decisions that you don’t always get right. We understand that. But there’s a lot of discussion and thinking from me and the coaches as to who’s going to be on the next trip and who’s going to leave us with a handshake and a thank you.”

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